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Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Lamb

Lamb Burger at Wairu River Winery in New Zealand

Yesterday was Easter and I often associate the holiday with lamb.  I’ve been dreaming of a lamb burger with carmelized onions that I had over a month ago at Wairu River Winery on the New Zealand Wine-Knows tour.  I had this same burger two years prior when my husband and I were in Kiwi-land scoping out possibilities for a future trip.  I’ve fantasized about that doggone lamb burger for such a long time that I decided yesterday to re-create it.

Thankfully during my last visit I made sure I spoke with the winery's chef about how it is made as there’s something I couldn’t quite put my finger on about its unique flavors. The secret appears to be in the 24 hour marinade.  I’m now gladly sharing the recipe as I know that the 14 people on the recent tour who also ordered it (and raved about it) will be making it pronto.

1 large shallot, minced finely
½ cup chopped fresh mint (don't even think about the dried version)
1 Tablespoon red wine
1 lb. high quality ground lamb
Salt & pepper
Carmelized onions*
1 heaping Teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil

Preparation:  Mix the first 5 ingredients above 24 hours in advance and place in frig.  The following day form the lamb into 2 patties and grill.  Place lamb in buns, top with carmelized onions (and add garnishes such as lettuce & mustard as you prefer).  Or you can forget the bun and eat just the meat with the carmelized onions on top.

*For the onions I used a mélange of 3 large shallots, 1 medium sweet red onion, 1 large Maui onion, and 1 medium white onion.  Remember the trick to carmelizing onions is  LOW  AND SLOW.  Heat a skillet (preferably cast iron as it conducts heat best) with a few tablespoons of olive oil on low, and toss in the onions.  Do *not* stir them often as this disrupts the carmelizing process.  In about 15 minutes salt & pepper  them and add a tablespoon of fresh thyme.  Continue cooking---they should be done in about 30 minutes.

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